Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israelis are divided, others outraged, over new segregated bus lines for Jews and Arabs in the occupied West Bank. (New York Times/CSM) Pres. Abbas reportedly urges Sec. Kerry to pressure Israel on settlements at a meeting in Saudi Arabia yesterday. (Jerusalem Post) VP Biden and PM Netanyahu stress points of unity at the AIPAC conference. (New York Times) Netanyahu calls for a "credible military threat" against Iran. (Xinhua) UNRWA cancels a Gaza marathon after Hamas bans women runners. (AP) A settler rabbi who promoted peace has passed away. (AP) The PA says settlers have built a new wildcat outpost near Nablus. (Ma'an) Analysts believe Netanyahu probably can form a new government in his two week extended window. (Xinhua) PM Fayyad and Abbas issue conflicting statements about the resignation of finance minister Qassis. (Ma'an) Palestinians say some European labor unions may have agreed to boycott Israeli settlements. (PNN) A bill is introduced in Congress describing Israel as "a major strategic ally" and solidifying aspects of the relationship. (Jerusalem Post) Hamas scolds protesters that self immolation is "un-Islamic." (Al Monitor)

COMMENTARY: Dennis Ross suggests a series of unilateral and bilateral steps Israel and the Palestinians could take to improve conditions for peace. (New York Times) Noam Sheizaf offers his critique of Ross' suggestions. (+972) Moshe Arens says Israel should tear down the West Bank separation barrier. (Ha'aretz) Akiva Eldar looks at a new book by Elie Podeh that examines real opportunities for peace that have been missed and ones that were illusory. (Al Monitor) Octavia Nasr says that, to her, Ramallah sums up Palestine. (Al Arabiya) Ha'aretz says the new segregated bus lines in the occupied West Bank are the road to racism. (Ha'aretz) Anna Lekas Miller says the separate buses are only the latest in segregated public transportation in the occupied Palestinian territories. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Omar Shaban says there are large gas reserves off the coast of Gaza, but Palestinians aren't in a position to benefit from them. (Al Monitor) Michael Billington looks at a new play about Israel's occupation. (The Guardian) Ari Afilalo says newly released archives show PM Begin was right to fire DM Sharon over the 1983 Sabra and Shatila massacre. (JTA) Ben Lynfield asks if Israel is pressuring Palestinians to leave "Area C" in preparation for formal annexation. (The Forward) A Palestinian couple in California explain why they decided to open a Palestinian restaurant following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (San Francisco Chronicle) APN interviews Yossi Alpher on recent developments in Israel. (APN) Matt Hill says many people depict the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict in reductive, simplistic terms. (The Daily Telegraph)

Israelis Divided Over Separate Bus Lines for Arabs and Jews in Occupied West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Robert Mackey - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel’s transportation ministry introduced Monday what it billed as improved service for nearly 30,000 Palestinians who live under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and commute to work daily in Israel: two new bus lines “designated” for their use.

Israel takes heat for de facto segregation on new West Bank buses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Kfar Saba, Israel The Afikim Bus No. 210 pulled up to a stop outside the main shopping mall in this Tel Aviv suburb on its maiden run from Israel to the West Bank on Monday, but for unsuspecting Israelis who tried to board the driver had a swift interdict.

'Abbas to Kerry: Push Israel for settlement freeze'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Saudi Arabia Monday with US Secretary of State John Kerry and discussed the latest regional developments, Palestinian officials in Ramallah said. This was the first meeting of its kind since Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. “The meeting focused on efforts to revive the peace process,” said a Palestinian official. “They also discussed [US] President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the region later this month.”

Biden and Netanyahu Stress Points of Unity in Speeches to Pro-Israel Group
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

The thundering ovations, slickly produced videos and legions of lawmakers were the same as ever. But something was missing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convened here this week for its annual conference: tension.

Israeli PM calls for "credible military threat" against Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called for "a clear and credible military threat" against Iran, saying the Islamic republic is getting closer to building a nuclear bomb. The hawkish Israeli leader, told a pro-Israel lobby group in Washington via satellite link from Jerusalem that diplomacy and sanctions have not worked to stop Iran from pressing ahead with its controversial nuclear program.

UN agency cancels Gaza marathon over ban on women
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ian Deitch - March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — A U.N aid agency canceled the Gaza marathon on Tuesday after the Palestinian territory's militant Hamas rulers banned women from participating in the annual sporting event.UNWRA, which assists Palestinian refugees and also sponsors and organizes the event, announced that plans for the race next month have been scrapped because of the Hamas demand that women be barred.

Israeli settler rabbi who promoted peace dies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Rabbi Menachem Froman, an Israeli settler known for his efforts to promote coexistence between Arabs and Jews, has died. He was 68. His son Shivi Froman said he died Monday after a long illness. Froman, who served as the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, had ties to many Palestinian leaders. He was an outspoken opponent of attacks by Jewish settlers on mosques. He often visited damaged holy sites with local Palestinian officials. He believed Israelis and Palestinians could live together peacefully.

Settlers build new illegal outpost near Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli settlers erected a new outpost on Sunday on a hilltop east of Nablus, a Palestinian Authority said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said residents of the Elon Moreh settlement installed 10 mobile homes in Ras Hazim fields, a few hundred meters from Deir al-Hatab village. Settlers used bulldozers to dig a road to Ras Hazim, Daghlas told Ma'an. He said farmers would no longer be able to access 100 acres of private Palestinian land.

News Analysis: Israeli PM can form new gov't before new deadline: analysts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

Despite the hard time over the past weeks in talks with his potential coalition partners, Israeli Prime Minister designee Benjamin Netanyahu, who has got an additional 14 days from President Shimon Peres to form a new government, can complete the task, though he kept complaining about the boycott of "certain parties," analysts say.

Abbas, Fayyad at odds over finance minister's resignation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

The opposing statements by President Mahmoud Abbas and his premier Salam Fayyad over the finance minister's resignation have stirred debates over the leaders' jurisdictions. Nabil Qassis on Saturday announced his resignation, less than a year after he was appointed to replace Fayyad as finance minister. Abbas refused the resignation, but Fayyad told the cabinet on Sunday that he had accepted it. Under Palestinian Basic Law, the prime minister is responsible for dismissing ministers or accepting their resignations.

European Campaign to Boycott Israeli Phone Companies in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestine News Network
March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Monday 4th March, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported that labor Unions of France, Ireland, Britain, Italy, and Sweden signed an agreement to boycott illegal Israeli settlements' products, including telecommunication services in the west Bank, according to a statement by the union. The agreement, which was signed following a conference organized by the Association France Palestine Solidarity (AFPS) in Paris, discussed the Israeli settlement activities and their effect on economic, political and social life in Palestine.

US bipartisan bill to make Israel 'strategic ally'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

A Republican and a Democrat in the US House of Representatives introduced legislation that would make Israel a "major strategic ally," a one of a kind designation. The bill, introduced Monday by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), was timed for the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, and 13,000 activists are expected to lobby for it and for Iran-related bills on Tuesday.

Self-Immolation Un-Islamic, Scolds Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Mohammed Suliman - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

On Feb. 21, Mohammed al-Namrouti, a 43-year-old resident of the Gaza Strip, set himself on fire inside the headquarters of the Gaza Ministry of Social Affairs in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City. Local news agencies reported that Namrouti had gone to the office to obtain food assistance during which an argument ensued between him and officials and ended in Namrouti setting fire to himself.

To Achieve Mideast Peace, Suspend Disbelief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Dennis Ross - (Opinion) March 2, 2013 - 1:00am

THESE are hard times for trying to promote, much less make, peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The rise of political Islam, Syria’s civil war and looming implosion, and the Iranian nuclear imbroglio not only dominate the environment, but they also render it forbidding for peacemaking. And while all these factors make Israelis and Palestinians reluctant to take risks for peace, they do not represent the biggest hurdle for ending the conflict. The most fundamental problem between Israelis and Palestinians is the problem of disbelief.

Dennis Ross: Netanyahu's attorney in Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from 972 Magazine
by Noam Sheizaf - (Opinion) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross had a full page op-ed in The New York Times this weekend, in which he presents a 14-step program that is supposed to establish a framework for renewing the diplomatic process.

Tear down this wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Arens - (Opinion) March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

“Tear down this wall,” called out President Ronald Reagan in June 1987 on a visit to Berlin.  And two and half years later the Berlin Wall came down. There is another wall, whose construction is not yet complete, which has been built over the past 10 years.  It runs the length of the Land of Israel, like a scar along the face of a beautiful woman – the separation fence.  When will it come down?

The Myth of the Missed Opportunity In Israeli-Arab Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

The month of March holds out the promise of abundant political opportunities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected, in all likelihood, to form his third government; President Barack Obama is coming on his first visit as a sitting president to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, and immediately after that the summit meeting of the Arab League is convening in Doha. As it does every year, the summit will likely ratify the Arab Peace Initiative born in Beirut more than 10 years ago.

Ramallah is Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
(Opinion) March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

No other city says Palestine to me more than Ramallah. At the Kalandia checkpoint, a large Israeli sign warns visitors they are about to enter Palestinian territories and that as such their safety and security are under threat. The obvious separation wall Israel has erected is an eyesore that immediately sets a mood of desperation and isolation. The huge cement wall which Israel calls “security fence” is tall and lifeless. It separates, divides even West Bank residents from their schools and businesses.

New routes to racism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

At the beginning of the week, separate bus lines were launched for Palestinians in the territories who travel into Israel. The Transportation Ministry claims the lines are meant to ease travel conditions for the Palestinians, but they’re actually another manifestation of a regime based on discrimination and segregation.

West Bank Buses Only The Latest In Israel's Segregated Public Transport
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Anna Miller - (Opinion) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Today, Israeli bus company Afikim will begin operating a “Palestinian-only” bus service to transport Palestinian workers to central Israel. Previously, Palestinians holding permits to work in Israel would use Israeli buses to travel to work there. Now Palestinians who try to use the Israeli buses will be requested to use the Palestinian bus instead.

Gaza Gas Can't Help Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Omar Shaban - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Despite their geographical distance, Gaza and Nigeria are similar on many levels. Nigeria is one of the largest oil exporters in the world, but one of the poorest countries. Hundreds of Nigerians die while trying to obtain a few liters of their own oil, even as it flows right in front of their eyes. Gazans also suffer from severe poverty, high unemployment and deaths due to continuous power cuts, despite large gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea, right before their eyes.

Facts – review
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Michael Billington - (Theater Review) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

How do you tackle the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Most British dramatists, with the striking exception of David Hare in Via Dolorosa, shy away from it. But Canadian playwright Arthur Milner has had the bold idea of confronting some of the key issues in the form of a 90-minute police procedural; and, even if it can't cover the whole territory, the result is undeniably tense.

Op-Ed: Begin was right to fire Sharon over ‘83 massacre
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
(Opinion) March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel's State Archives last week released the previously classified minutes of a 1983 Cabinet meeting during which the government debated the Kahan Commission’s recommendation to fire Defense Minister Ariel Sharon on account of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The killings had taken place some months before, on Sept. 16, 1982, when 150 fighters of the Lebanese Christian Phalanges entered two Palestinian refugee camps and massacred 700 to 800 residents. The Israel Defense Forces, which controlled the area, allowed the Lebanese forces access to the camp.

Palestinians Pressured To Leave 'Area C' of Occupied West Bank by Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Ben Lynfield - (Opinion) March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

In this village of 250 residents just north of Jerusalem, elementary school principal Khalil Abu Arqoub must choose daily between heeding the orders of Israeli military administrators and upholding the well-being of his pupils. As part of Israel’s stringent building restrictions in this area, the toilet of the Nabi Samwil Mixed Basic School, which he directs, has a demolition order against it. So does the wire fence the school erected to separate the children’s play area from cars traversing the badly potholed road from the Tomb of Samuel holy site.

Palestinians reach out with restaurant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from SFGate
(Interview) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, anti-Muslim sentiment peaked in the United States. Instead of retreating, Palestinian immigrants Fayza and Naime Ayyad built a bridge.

Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: March 4, 2013
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
(Interview) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Alpher discusses whether Netanyahu will form a government by the new deadline of March 16th, what the appointment of Philip Gordon as White House coordinator for the Middle East might tell us about Obama's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issue in his second term, and whether there is any hope at all for Turkish-Israeli rapprochement,

Good-and-evil caricatures of the Israel-Palestine conflict are costing lives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Matt Hill - (Opinion) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Is there another issue that generates as much sound and fury as the Israel-Palestine conflict? Last month George Galloway attracted derision for storming out of an Oxford University debate when he discovered one of his opponents was an Israeli. The fallout continued into last week, with students at the university voting on whether to join a blanket boycott of Israeli companies and institutions.

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